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Parents of Special Needs Children Face Conundrum on Mandatory COVID Vaccine

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Like most teenage boys, 14-year-old Jonathan Smythe has activities he’s passionate about, such as swimming, dancing, and bowling. But for him and his Vancouver-based family, perhaps their greatest pursuit is the task of just keeping him alive. Smythe was born with multiple health complications including CHARGE syndrome (a genetic disorder), Goldenhar syndrome (a rare congenital condition), and epilepsy. But even the common cold can be deadly for him, causing his organs to break down quickly. In the latest scare to land him in hospital, he almost died when his lungs filled up with his own secretions. “We’ve almost lost him many times,” said his mother, Debbie, who asked to use pseudonyms to keep their identities private. So when Health Canada approved COVID-19 vaccinations for those as young as 12, Debbie ensured her son was first in line. Even with limited information on the vaccine’s safety record, inoculation was an obvious choice. “For …

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